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Want to Jump-Start Your Career in 2006?

Written by Posted On Friday, 03 February 2006 00:00

Did you know that, every year, many agents don't get back into the swing of things business-wise until the middle of January?

There's nothing at all wrong with wanting to linger in the "holiday spirit" for a while before jumping back in the game. But if you've told yourself that this truly will be the year you shift your career -- and your income and happiness -- into high gear, you can put this small window of leisurely time to your advantage.

It's as easy as counting from one to 10. So while others are still swapping holiday memories and returning gifts, here are 10 things you can start doing right now to make 2006 your best year ever.

  1. Write your business plan for the next 12 months. Trust me: Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, most likely) and actually taking the time to write a plan is a great way to get your business ideas flowing. Having invested the time to carefully strategize and then commit a plan to paper, you will be much more inclined to adhere to it over the coming months. Be sure to include the income you would like to make and the cost of doing business (i.e., ads, marketing, etc.). And don't forget the "fun" factor. Remember: Helping people buy and sell homes is a great, great way to make a living; enjoy it!

    Break down your plan into how many transactions you estimate you will need to accomplish your goals, and the number of prospects you'll need in your pipeline to close that estimated number. (In fact, you can drop me an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I can send you a sample business plan).

  2. Contact all of the sellers who told you they wanted to wait until after the holidays to list their homes. Let them know (even if you are in a strong sellers' market) that this is a good time to list, before the spring market is in full swing and they have even more competition.

  3. Do an updated CMA for all of your listings. Call and meet with your sellers and make sure their list price is right for the marketplace today. Make price adjustments as necessary so their home can be sold.

  4. Call all of the buyers who wanted to wait until after the holidays to buy. Invite them to the office to fine-tune their search criteria, sign a buyer agency agreement and get pre-approved. The interest rates are still good so it is a good time to buy. Remind them of this! Start sending them listing information now, and stay in touch so they'll contact you when they see properties they'd like to view.

  5. Call your friends. Let them know you have set lofty goals for this year and tell them why (i.e, to begin a college fund, to purchase a summer home, etc.) Thank them for their support in the past, and let them know you would like to count on their support for the future.

    Ask them, "Who do you know who is interested in buying or selling a home?" Ask them for their email addresses so you can send them a monthly e-newsletter (be sure to include your photo and company logo in the newsletter). This is a subtle way to ask for referral business.

    While we're on the subject of e-newsletters … if you're still not putting the convenience and time-saving efficiencies of technology to your advantage, make 2006 the year you get on board. Real estate technology services companies like HouseValues and Realty Times were created with a goal in mind: to help agents become more productive, profitable and happy in their careers.

    I can't tell you how often we hear from agents who tell us they have virtually turned their careers around by tapping into the many technology products and services available literally at their fingertips, from lead-generation programs and e-newsletters, to customized websites with advanced aerial mapping technology that makes finding homes for your customers easier and more enjoyable than ever.

  6. Call all of your past clients. Let them know that this year you are concentrating on referral business, and that you want to continue to work with people just like them. Ask them if they would send you the names, email addresses and phone numbers of five of their friends. (You can email them a form to fill out so it is easy for them to respond.) Let them know you would like to call those friends and send them information on real estate via email and become their trusted real estate resource, just like you are for your past clients.

  7. Invite all of the neighbors to your Open Houses. Have them come at a special time for them -- say, half an hour before the general Open House hours. Serve hot cider or something equally welcoming and meet all of the neighbors. Be sure to obtain email addresses so you can easily stay in touch. Tell them you have a terrific e-newsletter and website and that you'd like to share them with them.

  8. Call all of the FSBOs in your area. They really need you and your local market knowledge and expertise. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), eight out of 10 FSBOs ultimately list with an agent after failing on their own. Remember, the fact that they don't want to list the first time you call is not personal … it is just about money and everyone is concerned about money, especially after the holidays. Offer them your services, and give them a reason to trust you with their most valuable possession. Show them that by listing with you, they can actually make more money than if they tried to sell their home on their own.

  9. Call all of the expired listings in your area. Most likely, they have been waiting until after the holidays to re-list. Tell them you'd like to stop by for a few minutes at their convenience to share with them the two possible reasons their home didn't sell. (Price and/or condition.) Bring a CMA and listing agreement, and let them know -- in detail -- what you will do to get their home sold.

  10. Smile, act successful and always have your customers' needs in mind. Everyone wants to work with a happy, successful agent. Those of you who are successful can attest to that. Those of you who are not as successful as you would like to be -- act the part … and you will grow into it.

And finally, remember that people want to work with someone who has their best interests at heart, not someone who is worrying about how to pay for their holiday extravagances.

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